Starting Your Own Podcast #6: Analytics
Starting your own podcast? There is a lot to learn. Honestly, the most important thing to address is your content. You have something to share with the world, and you need to think about how you are going to share that message. However, your podcast is going to need a place to live, and there are many details to consider when choosing a podcasting host.
This post is part of a series on starting your own podcast. You are welcome to start at the beginning with Starting Your Own Podcast #1 The Microphone.
Today, I will cover another one of the features that are offered, in some way or another by podcasts hosting sites. I hope this will help you make a better decision about choosing the home for your new podcast.
Podcast Host Feature #2: Analytics
It is essential, when choosing the platform for your podcast hosting, to understand what types of analytics are offered. Click to tweet.
You may be among the 1% of podcasters who don't care if anyone is listening to your latest episode. The rest of us like some form of analytics. Analytics (sometimes referred to as insights) are simply information about who is listening to your podcast. Details may include
- Total number of listeners (streaming and downloads)
- Geographic location (of listeners)
- Device (used to listen)
- How people listen (iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, etc.)
Why Analytics are Important When Starting Your Own Podcast
As a brand new podcaster, these analytics can be valuable because they will show you that people are listening. They can also be quite discouraging. Unless you already have an online reputation, such as a significant social media following, or a ton of friends, your initial listenership may be quite low. I hope you won't let that discourage you. For most podcasts, it takes a few episodes for a show to get established. Once people start discovering your podcast, they may go back and start listening from the beginning.
Once your show starts gaining listeners, this data can help you continue to grow your podcast. Knowing what geographical region people are listening from can help you tailor content to your audience. An understanding of traffic sources can support your continued promotional efforts. Knowing which episodes got more listeners might help you consider what topics connect best with your audience.
Choosing The Best Podcasting Host for Analytics
Here are the analytics offered by some of the top podcasting hosts. I am using their language and annotating with my own if it doesn't seem clear. Before making a decision, I highly recommend checking this out in more detail on the host's website where their offerings are explained in far more detail.
- Total plays, all-time
- Plays per episode
- Overall podcast plays (per day, week, and month)
- Episode downloads (per day, week, and month)
- How people listen (website, iTunes, Google Play, etc.) (per day, week, and month)
- Total & unique downloads
- Platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.)
- Client apps (iTunes, Android, Firefox, etc.)
- Distribution (phones, website, set-top boxes, etc.)
- Traffic sources (original website for web downloads)
- World demographics (Geographic location)*
*only available on Pro and Enterprise plans
- Total & unique downloads
- Episode totals
- Social stats
- Downloads per destination*
- Geographic stats*
- User agents (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.)*
*only available with plans $20/month and higher
- Plays per episode
- Geo location
- How people listen (website, iTunes, Google Play, etc.)
- Total audience size
If you are just starting out, a lot of this information may not seem necessary. You will likely only be interested in how many people are listening. However, remember that you are hoping for your show to grow. When it does, it may be helpful to have more information, and you don't want to get caught needing to switch hosts midstream. While it is possible, it is difficult, and it could potentially lose you some listeners along the way.
Third Party Analytics
If you want more information than your host can provide, there are third-party applications that will track your analytics for you. Podtrac promotes itself as the industry leader for this segment. The great thing about this service is that it is free. However, you need to make sure that your podcasting host supports "third party measurement prefixes." Currently, Libsyn, SoundCloud, Squarespace, and Blubrry support this. If your host does not support this, there are workarounds, but things get more complicated.
Again, these details may not mean much to you now but they very well may in the future. Try to choose a host that will grow with your podcast.
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If you want to check out some of the equipment I used in my own studio or write about on this blog, you can read more here.